The Alaska Native Collection "Sharing Knowledge", interviewed Joan Hamilton with John Phillip Sr., Neva Rivers.
Before Joan's time the Yupiit would use the story knives during the winter. We began to us them in the summer in Joan's time. When she was younger, they would normally do their story knifing in the entryway during the winter. She also said that before they were to speak, they had a type of signal. This signal was to "suck up saliva in their mouth". Then they would begin telling their own story, often starting with a picture of a house.
Neva Rivers says that the story knives were her pencils. She would try to copy the drawings that her older sisters drew as they told their story. She adds that she would tell stories inside the porch. Her and her friends would bring in snow and flatten it out. She resembles it to as "her sheet of paper". After flattening the snow out, the young girls would sometimes sprinkle water on to it. Neva Rivers then adds that she would hide it so no one else will take it. Therefore these story knives must have been very well taken care of it. Elder's Descusion